Voodoo Blues - A Dresden Files RPG

Hot Summer Nights
Things "heat up" in New Orleans

Dresden Files – Hot Summer Nights

The story opens with Rebekka, Ethan Idris, and Reg headed to Curios of the Third Eye for a book signing. Unfortunately, they find the shop entirely closed down. Curious about the situation, they knock at the door, and it is answered by the proprietor, Linda Kronsage.

Linda explains to the group that the signing had to be cancelled, as the artist was found murdered in her house earlier in the day. As she has a small clientele, Linda thought she had notified everyone, and was very sorry for wasting Rebekka, Ethan, and Reg’s time.

The group is understandably concerned, and more than a little skeptical of the whole situation. Linda is too upset to offer much help, so Ethan suggests that they speak to a friend of his at the police department, Officer Michaels.

At the station, Michaels is reluctant to help, explaining that the investigation is being headed by Sheriff Fletcher, who is quick to anger and has no qualms about ruing a persons day, and his career, if he feels slighted in any way. That said, Michaels gives what information he can…

Meanwhile, deep in the swamps, Jacob is settling in for the evening when he hears swamp boats in the distance. Knowing how rare it is that someone should travel so far into the bayou, he heads out to meet the boats, where he is waylaid by a group of armed thugs in ski masks. Without the slightest hesitation, Jacob shifts to his alligator form and tears into the assailants. It takes little time for the thugs to realize that things aren’t going their way, so the biggest of them fires up the boat and takes off into the swamp. The remaining (conscious) thug flees into the swamp, where Jacob captures him before he hurts himself, and drags him back to his cabin to talk. But what of the escapee in the boat, and the assailant who ran towards Jacob’s cabin at the beginning of the fight? They’re nowhere to be found.

Later that night, Sheriff Fletcher comes by with a couple of the boys to round up ol’ Jacob. The thing is, Jacob doesn’t feel inclined to go willingly, even though they’ve got a warrant. Right in front of God and everyone, Jacob drops into gator form, and high-tails it out of there, taking a bullet for his troubles.

Deep in the swamps, Jacob runs into Luke “Benny” Benoit. Benny heard the commotion from the family plantation, and headed out to investigate. After rounding up Jacob and convincing him to come along, Benny heads back to the plantation. Unfortunately, Sheriff Fletcher has made it there already, and is rounding up The Family. Knowing he doesn’t want any part of that, Benny steers clear of the plantation. Together, the two flee the swamps and head into the city to keep their heads low.

Meanwhile, back in the city, Rebekka, Reg, and Ethan have headed over to the artist’s house to investigate the murder. Getting into the crime scene proves to be difficult, however. But all is not lost. While the group is driving around trying to figure out what to do, Officer Michaels calls and notifies them that the death has been chalked up to a voodoo cult, members of which have been rounded up in the bayou. One suspect, however, evaded capture and is still on the lose. That suspect is Jacob. While investigating Jacob’s house, police found a kidnapped man and a bracelet that belonged to the artist.

Jacob is not unknown to the group, but he will have to be dealt with later, as the police have left the crime scene, and it’s time to go in. Breaking in through a back door proves easy. Inside the “investigators” find a grisly scene in the bathroom. Burn spots mark the room, and a human-shaped char spot is found on the floor next to the bed (and the telephone). In the bathroom, Ethan finds a toothbrush on the floor, the handle of which has finger marks smashed into the melted plastic. On the wall, written in soot is EX2218. Rebekka immediately recognizes the Bible verse Exodus 22:18

“Suffer not a witch to live.”

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Out of the Frying Pan...

Dresden Files – Out of the Frying Pan…

What do you do when two fugitives, one of whom is tremendously antisocial, show up at the door of your small apartment looking for shelter? Well, if you’re Rebekka, you give them some floor space, safe in the knowledge that God must have led them here. After Jacob and Benny bed down for the night, things settle down for a few hours. But this is New Orleans, and the heat’s always on here. The respite won’t last long.

In the morning, Reg joins the Rebekka, Jacob, and Benny with the intention of figuring out just what is going on with the artist’s murder. Before they head out into the city, Rebekka gets a call from Ethan, letting her know that he’s indisposed with Warden business, but also filling her in a bit.

It seems that Ethan has gotten a call from Officer Michaels, reminding him that the police have some suspects, but one is still at large.

Though Rebekka and Reg are fresh out of ideas, with the arrival of Jacob and Benny comes some new knowledge. It seems that Jacob squeezed some information out of his “guest” the previous night. With this in mind, the group decides to seek out D’shawn, the person who paid the thugs to come after Jacob. With their new friends, the Rebekka and Reg decide to head to the 9th Ward, to talk to a local community organizer, Jamyl Gibson. If anyone will know where to find D’shawn, it will be him.

Knowing that the 9th Ward is no place to leave a car, the group takes a cab to the community center where Jamyl works. He’s not hard to find, and after leaving his game to talk to the visitors who are OBVIOUSLY out of place, he sits down to talk with them in his office. Feeling a little uncomfortable about the delay in Jamyl sitting down to talk, Reg heads outside to keep an eye on things. Benny heads out with him just to keep him safe.

Jamyl tells Rebekka and Jacob about D’Shawn, and suggests that they steer clear of him. It’s perfectly clear that D’Shawn is BAD news. As the head of the Reds, he’s dangerous enough, but there’s something about him that’s just not right, Jamyl claims. Rebekka and Jacob also ask him about the artist’s death, but he tells them he doesn’t know much about things going on outside of the 9th Ward.

The group leaves, and heads back to Rebekka’s place to discuss what to do next. They decide to go talk to D’Shawn and see what he knows, and they figure it’s best to pose as “tough-guys” in order to do so. However, they quickly realize that one black guy and three white people are going to look VERY out of place in D’Shawn’s part of town. It’s going to be hard to stay incognito that way. Luckily, voodoo has an answer. It takes about half an hour, but Benny is able to lay a glamour over the whole group, making them appear dark skinned for a couple of hours.

When the group gets to the auto body shop, Rebekka is able to convince the guards to let them in. Nonetheless, they’re warned again that D’Shawn isn’t someone to mess with, but they make their way in, flanked by the two guards. It doesn’t take much to figure out which one’s D’Shawn. He’s the hulk that steps out from behind the stripped Escalade. It also doesn’t take much to piss him off, and before long his 8’ hulking form is tearing through his flesh mask, and revealing him and his cronies for the ravenous ghouls they are.

The fight is brutal. Everyone puts up a good fight, but it is clear that even Jacob’s strength is no match for D’Shawn. Rebekka comes out of it nearly torn apart, with a broken arm and a nearly gut-spilling gash in her stomach; however, her divine retribution tears into the ghouls, leaving two dead, and one running for the hills. Another couple hits from the group brings D’Shawn to his knees as well.

Not about to go down for a couple of downtown assholes he couldn’t care less about, D’Shawn spills what he knows. He tells the group that he was paid by a white woman and a BIG white dude, two people whose descriptions Jacob immediately recognizes as Fletcher’s “right-hand men.” He also was able to tell the characters that a neighborhood punk broke into the artist’s place a week or two ago, but he couldn’t remember who the guy was.

Yet more of the city’s dark underbelly is exposed. Perhaps that’s good for our heroes. Perhaps not.

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Signed in Blood

Dresden Files – Signed in Blood

After talking with D’Shawn, Reg, Rebekka, Benny, and Jacob decide it’s time to get down to business. They discuss what they know: First, there is clearly more to the artist’s murder than meets the eye. Second, they have a lead on who might be trying to set up Jacob. Obviously, since those people work closely with Sheriff Fletcher, he might know something about it as well.

As the group is deciding what lead to pursue, a call comes in to Reg’s phone. The caller is Linda Kronsage, and she asks him to bring his friends to the shop to talk to her about another issue that is concerning her.

Everyone meets with Linda at Curios of the Third Eye. Linda explains that another of her customers, Content Not Found: xx-john-skarn-xx-deceased has not come to collect a special order item that he desperately wanted (and was in a hurry to get), nor has he returned calls, or answered the door at his apartment. Linda explains that she is worried and would appreciate it greatly if the group would see if they can find John.

Reg, Rebekka, Benny, and Jacob pile into Reg’s car and head to Skarn’s apartment in the classy Warehouse District. Skarn doesn’t answer the intercom, but after Jacob randomly pushes a few buttons, a less-than-vigilant tenant buzzes the group in. Knocking at Skarn’s door, the group fares no better. However, knowing that no barrier is insurmountable, Reg checks behind the apartment number and finds a spare key.

After letting themselves in, the group immediately notices a buzzing sound coming from the back of the apartment, as well as the stench of death. A bloody handprint, dragged across the kitchenette counter immediately leads the group to Skarn’s body, which looks to have been torn to shreds with hundreds, if not thousands, of small cuts. Written in blood on the oven door is another bible verse: Micah 5:12. “And I will cut off witchcraft out of thine hand.”

While Reg examines the body, Benny, Rebekka, and Jacob check out the bedroom. Immediately upon opening the door, the mystery behind the suspicious buzzing sound is cleared up. Out from under the bed pour thousands of Locusts that descend on the investigators in a swarm, giving them a small taste of the hell that Skarn went through just before his untimely demise.

Quick to anger as always, Jacob reacts first, picking up a chair and throwing it through the window to let some light into the room. It is only as the huge chair shatters the glass and goes crashing to the street below that Jacob and his friends realize the fatal flaw in that plan: now the locusts are free to roam about the city causing death and destruction anywhere. Working in tandem to try to contain the problem, Benny throws up a barrier over the apartment door and Rebekka summons all of her might (ignoring the fiery pain from her broken arm) to push a wardrobe in front of the broken window, thus containing the insectoid threat in the room.

Just before Rebekka, Jacob and Reg back out of the door to trap the locusts in the bedroom, Reg heroically runs to the door, and, putting that Library Science degree to good use, rolls a smoke grenade into the room hoping to use the smoke to calm the insects until another dawn can destroy the residual energy from their summoning.

…Then the smoke alarms go off.

…Then the sprinkler system turns on.

Knowing that the locusts are contained, and that it would be a bad idea to be caught in this crime scene, the group decides to leave; however, before they can make their escape, it occurs to Rebekka that the smoke alarm will bring emergency services personnel directly to this room, where they, too, will fall victim to the locust swarm. However, saving the emergency personnel seems unlikely, as now the group can’t even see through the thick smoke in the room. Luckily, keeping his head in the face of disaster, Reg remembers the industrial cooking exhaust hood in the kitchen. Turning it on, he gives the group one more chance to confront the locusts.

In a final, desperate attack, Rebekka lunges into the room and swings mightily at the locusts with her sword. Unfortunately, a sword is not the best weapon with which to fight a magical insect swarm, even if the swarm has been calmed a bit by the smoke in the room (and even when the wielder isn’t sporting a severely broken arm). However, when Benny slams the locusts against the wall with a force burst (shortly after Jacob heroically distracts them by making himself an obvious target), the vile swarm dissipates into ectoplasm.

Before the group hurries out in the wake of blaring smoke alarms, Benny stops to grab a watch off of Skarn’s corpse. Then, hoping not to be noticed, they all head out into the hallway to join the crowds. Leaving Reg’s car behind, everyone heads back to Rebekka’s apartment.

Once back at the apartment, Benny decides a little thaumaturgy is in order. Using the watch as a focus, and drawing upon both his own Voodoo power, and Reg’s knowledge of ritual. Benny is able to see through Skarn’s eyes, albeit briefly…

…After a long day of work, John Skarn comes home to cook a nice meal, and sit down and watch some TV. Immediately upon entering the kitchen, he notices his 8-inch chef’s knife is missing. That’s a pain in the ass. After turning back to the counter, he feels like he is being watched, and then hears a strange noise behind him. Turning around, he notices the noise is coming from the hood above his stove. When he bends down to peer into it, thousands of locusts pour out, immediately tearing at his soft flesh. He tries to pull himself over the counter, but isn’t strong enough. As he is dragged to the floor, John Skarn feels one more surge of willpower, however, it isn’t his own will, and it isn’t going to save him. Dipping his hand into the blood covering his chest, he drags himself to the oven and begins to write… M… 5… 1………

The group briefly panics as Benny blacks out, but they are quickly able to rouse him. Reg decides it is time to call Linda. Always suspicious, Reg makes it clear to Linda that he thinks that she is involved in this somehow, and he plans to bring her down; however, after Linda hangs up on Reg, Rebekka calls her back and explains that the group simply wants to help, and that she is not a suspect. It is during this conversation that the group discovers that Linda’s assistant, Rebecca Martin has been missing for weeks as well. Had Rebecca been a more responsible employee, perhaps Linda would have thought to bring it up sooner…

Following up on the information, everyone heads back to the Ninth Ward to check out Rebecca Martin’s apartment. Once again, a citizen of New Orleans shows poor judgment, leaving a key behind the apartment numbers outside her door. Upon entering the apartment, the group quickly encounters the stench of OLD death. They find the body on the floor of the bathroom, holding gore-covered steak knives in each hand. On the floor, scrawled in blood is L1931, or, as Rebekka translates for the group, Leviticus 19:31, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”

Again Benny and Reg team up to see what the dead girl experienced, while Rebekka and Jacob wait in the hall to make sure nobody disturbs the scene. With the body having been dead for so long, Benny is unsure whether or not he’ll get anything. But then…

…Rebecca stands in her bathroom, looking into the mirror… Face fades… Gold rings on each finger… Laughing… Crying…………..Digging the knives into both forearms at the same time, Rebecca saws gory cuts in each arm. Falling to the floor, writing in pain, she drags her right forearm across the floor, against her will… L… 1… 9…

Upon hearing of the vision, Reg immediately consults his reference materials. It would seem that these gold rings are an icon of the Demon Keeper, a very dangerous spiritual entity, and, as all demons are, a manipulator of men.

It seems that our investigators have discovered a pattern. But is the pattern useful? Have they got everything they need? Are they in over their heads? And are they in time, or is it too late?

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The Lion's Den

Dresden Files – The Lion’s Den

Starting off at Rebekka’s apartment, the group begins to look at what they know. As it turns out, Reg discovers a significant clue while searching his vast internet database of information. Apparently prior to her murder, the artist reported a break-in at her home. Witnesses described a skinny black male with a white mohawk leaving the scene of the crime in a silver Cadillac.

Cross referencing this information, Reg is able to determine that this man has been seen at a number of other reported unusual break-ins. Vanessa Cerini, Mark Bruner, Jess Oberland, and Kria Baldesh were all victims of thefts by this unusual suspect.

Immediately after discovering this information, the group heads to Curios of the Third Eye to see if there is a connection. As it turns out, Linda Kronsage recognizes all of the names. They’re all regular customers at the shop. However, when Linda goes to get her ledger in order to give them more information, she discovers that her ledger is missing. It is at this point that she explains that she, too, was the victim of a break-in many weeks ago, but that it appeared (until now) that nothing had been stolen. Luckily, for no explainable reason, Linda made an additional copy of her ledger shortly before it was stolen. The group is curious about this, but also happy that Linda is able to give them all the information they need in order to track down the clients. Before everyone leaves, Rebekka asks Linda to call all of her regular clients to warn them of potential danger. Confused and scared, Linda agrees to do so.

The first person on the list is Jess Oberland, so Jess gets the first visit. Unwilling to invite the group into her home, she nonetheless allows them to let themselves in. As it turns out, Jess is missing a single spoon, from a massive spoon collection. After explaining the circumstances as they know them, Rebekka, Reg, Benny, and Jacob are able to convince Jess to lend them her collection. Reg compensates her for her assistance, and, it would appear, the chase is on.

At this point, the group decides it is in their best interest to split up. Benny and Jacob get to work on some divination with the spoons as a focus. According to Benny, if they’re lucky, they may be able to use the rest of the collection to find their way to the stolen spoon. As they begin this long thaumaturgical process, Reg and Rebekka go to see Vanessa Cerini, but, unfortunately Vanessa is unable to provide any useful information. Even though she’s aware of the risk of someone with ill intent having a personal item like her glasses, there is little she knows and even less she can do.

Benny and Jacob continue their difficult work while Reg and Rebekka pay a visit to Mark Bruner. Again, other than telling them that he is missing his running shoes, and that he’s worried for his family, Mark is of little help. Mark begs the two to stay and protect his family, going so far as to offer them significant compensation, but much as Rebekka wishes she could take such direct action to help one in need, she agrees with Reg that they can be of more help to more people by actively working on this case.

Shortly after Reg and Rebekka visit Mark, Benny successfully completes his spell. Placing a bowl of water on top of the stack of collector spoon holders, he places one spoon in the center to act as a compass needle. Drawing in his will and pushing it through his makeshift compass, he is able to get a bearing on the missing spoon. Jacob calls Reg and Rebekka and tells them to get a move on, as the spell is working. Unfortunately, he fails to tell them that he and Benny are heading out before he gets put on hold when Reg gets another call. Impatient as he is, Jacob simply hangs up the phone and gets back to work.

Though Rebekka is unenthusiastic about taking another call in the middle of such important business, it’s lucky that she bothers. The caller is none other than Lita Kwan, a warden responsible for New Orleans. Lita makes it clear that she’s aware of the investigation the characters are participating in, and has received calls from concerned people in the magical community. She insists on meeting IMMEDIATELY. Though Reg and Rebekka realize how beneficial it would be to have a warden’s help, they also don’t think they have time for a meeting and status update with Kwan; with regret Rebekka declines, and Lita Kwan makes it clear that this was a poor decision to make. Rebekka and Reg know there will be serious fallout.

Eventually, Rebekka and Reg cruise long enough in Benny’s stylish ‘85 Chevy Lumina to find their companions walking strangely down the sidewalk following the Will o’ the Spoons. After following the “compass” for nearly 30 minutes, the group ends up at Saint Louis Cathedral. As they enter the cathedral, the characters see that mass is in session, and Father Bathurst is at the pulpit. The group decides to take advantage of the quiet in the rest of the church in order to see where the compass leads.

While exploring the church, Rebekka, Reg, Benny and Jacob come across an old janitor who seems happy to see young people enjoying the church’s beauty. He seems skeptical of the new “fire and brimstone” style sermons of Father Bathurst. After hearing about the group’s interest in the church’s history and exciting secrets, the janitor tells them about the “Old Church”: the original St. Louis Church built on the same grounds LONG before even he was born. That old ramshackle building sunk into the swamp long ago, and the current St. Louis Cathedral was built on top of it. The janitor tells them that if they want to take a look, they can find an entry to part of the “old church” in the pantry at the back of the cathedral’s kitchen.

Of course, our heroes feel the need to see the “old church,” and, not surprisingly, the spoon/compass seems to think it’s a good idea, too. Benny finds an old camping lantern at the base of the pantry, and the group heads down the rickety stairs into the “old church.”

It doesn’t take Jacob long to discover that someone else has been here recently. There are fresh tracks in the dirt, which lead to a brick that is clearly a secret switch. After finding three more trigger bricks, the group finds a hidden door that has been released in the south wall. On the other side is a grizzly scene. An old wooden crucifix hangs on the wall stained with water damage and trailing blood-red paint from the eyes. The paint leads down the body of the savior, across the floor, and expands to a pentagram in the middle of the musty chamber. It doesn’t take much searching for the group to discover the broken handle of a chef’s knife. Content Not Found: xx-john-skarn-xx-deceased knife was here.

It seems our heroes have found themselves in the lion’s den. Will they be delivered as was Daniel? Or will the Lord cast them down in his own house?

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Deliver Us From Evil

Dresden Files – Deliver Us From Evil

It doesn’t take long for Reg to decide that investigating the altar room just isn’t for him. He heads upstairs to see what he can find up above, leaving Benny, Rebekka, and Jacob to plan an ambush for anyone who is unfortunate enough to wander into this forsaken area. As Reg leaves the room, the secret door closes with a disquieting “THUNK.”

After spending time in the restrooms waiting for mass to end, Reg chats up a church lady in the kitchen. Posing as a new member of the church, he volunteers to help out, allowing him to keep watch over the pantry’s secret entry unmolested. As nobody shows up, Reg gets to prove his volunteer mettle, spending hours in the kitchen cleaning up, mopping the floors, and then scrubbing and tidying the bathrooms.

While Reg channels his inner maid, Benny decides to examine the room even closer. Walking around the pentagram, he is surprised to discover yet another circle, or, at least, the remains of one, dug into the dirt floor next to the pentagram. However, as amazing and important as this discovery may be, it is of little consequence to Jacob, who is feeling extremely bored and cooped up. As much as Benny would like to do a thorough investigation of this circle, he sees Jacob opening the door and heading upstairs. Knowing that having Jacob nearby in case of trouble will be important, Benny enacts a ritual that will allow him to call Jacob to the altar room in the event of trouble.

Jacob discovers Reg in the sanctuary pretending to pray. Being as inconspicuous as he can, Jacob talks Reg into coming up to the offices with him to try to find the missing spoon. Knowing that such a success would definitely impress Rebekka, Reg goes along. The investigators first check out the office of Fr. Mulligan, who is not in. The room is a wreck, with papers all over the desk.

“Reg, take a look at these papers, I’m going to the next office.” says Jacob.

“I’m not your fucking servant,” Reg eloquently replies.

The two decide to skip Father Bathurst’s office, as the door is closed and they can hear that someone is inside. In addition, Father Shaunty’s office is closed as well, and he is clearly in a meeting with a member of the church.

Clearly at an impasse, our investigators wonder what to do— for approximately two seconds. Not one to wait, or apparently, to knock, Jacob simply opens the door and walks into Fr. Bathurst’s office. Clearly surprised but not terribly put off by the intrusion, Father Bathurst, a nicer man than his media persona would lead one to believe, spends time welcoming new member Reg to Saint Louis Cathedral. The new fast friends finish their conversation, and Reg and Jacob depart, leaving Father Bathurst amused and confused.

Back in Father Mulligan’s office, Jacob does a more thorough search, and is tremendously successful. At the back of a bottom file drawer of the priest’s desk, he discovers the missing running shoes, and the missing spoon as well as a ring, a woven bracelet, and a toothbrush. Reg and Jacob, emboldened by their discovery, rush out of the cathedral. Reg heads back to the altar room as Jacob rushes the newfound items to the car.

Running into the altar room, Reg explains the situation to Rebekka and Benny, handing Benny a priest’s stole that he grabbed from Fr. Mulligan’s office. As the three are about to leave, Benny feels a tremendous surge of energy from the pentagram, and it starts to glow. He and Rebekka immediately tear Jacob’s enchanted handkerchief, alerting him to the emergency, as a wicked looking creature shimmers to life and unfolds its black, leathery wings in the pentagram.

The creature quickly resolves itself into a MUCH more pleasant form, veiling itself in an angelic flesh mask, but it is too late. Reg recognizes the creature as The Demon Keeper from his extensive research. As the creature’s eyes focus on the investigators, it makes them an offer, “Break the circle. Release me, and we will do battle. Defeat me in combat and I will leave, to bother this place no more.” But the investigators aren’t buying it. Reg, Rebekka, and Benny all know better than to break the circle, potentially freeing the creature to do whatever it wants.

Jacob rushes down the hall just in time to see a robed figure disappear down the trap door in the pantry. Jacob jumps through the door and hits the floor in the basement just as Father Bathurst appears in the altar room, holding a large cloth bag. Benny, never terrible comfortable with quick-and-dirty evocation, nonetheless reacts quickly and slams Bathurst to the floor, increasing his gravity tenfold. But as he does so, the Demon points at Jacob and says, “Little shifter… you are out of your league. Run from this place before I tear you limb from limb,” and Jacob screams, as a fear so intense that it makes his ears bleed tears through his mind.

In all the chaos, Rebekka keeps her head and grabs the bag out of Bathurst’s hand, feeling the missing glasses inside, among other items. As she does so, Reg dives on top of Fr. Bathurst, keeping him down and knocking him out of the altar room. Jacob, regaining his senses, manages an arm lock on Bathurst, who repays his kindness with an impromptu blast of fire.

Benny tells everyone that it’s time to get out, and he heads for the ladder. Rebekka begins to turn as well, just as the demon points at her and says, “Yes… run little one. Is that the best that you and your pissant god have to offer?” It is at that point that Rebekka realizes that she Must Destroy the Spawn of Satan. Yet somehow, defying all logic, or maybe succumbing to it, Rebekka shakes the feeling off, and retreats through the door slamming it shut on the demon’s enraged screams and taunts. The group ties up Bathurst and knocks him out just as Benny feels another surge of energy that is followed by silence.

When they open the door, the demon is gone.

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The Kingdom

Dresden Files – The Kingdom

After tying up Father Bathurst and gently shaking him awake, the group decides to question him. It doesn’t take much questioning to determine that Bathurst sees himself as a servant of God, delivering the Lord’s justice.

Drawing on his ancient Voodoo powers, Benny pulls a veil over the good Father so that he can be “escorted” from the church. But when they head upstairs, the group has a surprise waiting for them. It appears that Jacob’s mad dash through the halls of the church attracted the attention of onlookers who recognized the fugitive, as the kitchen is now crawling with cops.

Everyone retreats to the pentagram chamber, and, when an officer starts coming down the ladder, Jacob pulls the secret door closed. It is only after hours of waiting (until 3:00 a.m. in fact) that they are confident enough to emerge again.

As the miscreants head for the side door under the cover of darkness, they’re simply not quiet enough. From the priests’ offices they hear a, “Hello? Hello? Who is down there?” Thinking quickly, Reg grabs a live-trap from along the wall and tears it open, scattering the mice up the stairs. Seeing his opportunity, Father Bathurst starts to struggle, but the gag prevents him from making any headway, and the group emerges into the parking lot

…to discover that their car is gone, and with it, everything Jacob put in the trunk.

After a quick phone call, Rebekka convinces Linda Kronsage (who, honestly, does owe them a favor or two) to pick the group up. Linda is a bit concerned when she sees the bound and gagged man she’s expected to transport, but luckily Linda is meek and easily intimidated.

As the group discusses what to do next Linda is listening, but she only interjects when they realize they don’t know Warden Kwan’s phone number. As it turns out, access to the White Council switchboard is not nearly as exclusive as it would seem, and Linda is able to help them out with a contact number.

It takes our heroes some time to decide not to kill Father Bathurst outright. Indeed, some exciting ideas such as, “throwing him into the Nevernever” are tossed about. In the end, though, Rebekka convinces the group that such a decision is not theirs to make, and a call is placed to Warden Kwan.

After a tense three hours, the warden arrives and takes control of Bathurst. In addition, she takes two gold rings that were in the bag that Rebekka confiscated from him. It would seem that the problem is solved.

…but, then again, everyone’s still a fugitive.

Two weeks later, Reg, Jacob, Benny and Rebekka come home to find beautifully crafted invitations on their doors inviting them to, “dinner and a soiree” at an exclusive club. At the bottom, in flowing script is written, “Life running you in circles lately? Come find out why.” However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the card is the signature— Marius Raith.

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Going, Going, Gone!

Dresden Files – Going, Going, Gone!

Defeating Father Bathurst and the evil demon that was controlling him left our heroes, particularly Rebekka, with some wounds to lick. A little downtime is always welcome.

Unfortunately, the White Council has other plans.

Ethan Idris contacts the group through Reg and lets them know that the council requests a favor of them. A tome of dark magic is about to be sold at auction, and it needs to be recovered, so that it doesn’t fall into the hands of someone… irresponsible.

Reg decides to call on Benny and Rebekka, but because this is a black-tie affair, he determines that maybe Jacob should sit this one out.

Arriving at the auction, the heroes pick up an auction card and begin to peruse the items on sale. In very little time, they manage to find the tome, as well as the potential buyers hovering around it. The owner of the book is present, so Reg discusses the price with him. As it turns out, he is hoping to get $400-$500 for the book, which is well within the range of what Reg has with him.

Using The Sight, Benny determines that some of the other onlookers happen to be members of the supernatural community as well. There is clearly a sorcerer or wizard, with a ghoul companion. In addition, there’s a minor talent, and a gentleman that the group presumes to be a shapeshifter.

Before long, Rebekka gets herself worked up. Going against her typical nature, she decides that the sorcerer and the ghoul are too much of a risk with all the people around, and that the heroes should act first. She talks Reg into starting a small fire in the bathroom, to get people out of the building. Reg excuses himself and heads to the downstairs bathroom, where he lights a roll of toilet paper on fire. This gives him just enough time to return to the group before the alarms and sprinklers go off.

As soon as the sprinklers go off, the crowds make for the exit. The owner of the tome begins to pack up, and all of the onlookers move toward him. As soon as the room is relatively clear, Rebekka, always a glutton for punishment, jumps the ghoul.

Rebekka wounds the ghoul, but it goes into a frenzy and begins tearing at her. Benny tries to disable the sorcerer, while the sorcerer hurls a vicious looking spell at Rebekka, just barely missing her.

In the chaos, Reg begins hastily pushing the tome’s owner (and the tome) toward the exit. They manage to get downstairs and away from the immediate brawl.

The ghoul tears into Rebekka, rending her and leaving her holding in her guts. As it does so, the sorcerer backs toward the window, drawing energy around himself. Amidst the chaos, the ghoul and the sorcerer leap out the window.

Downstairs, Reg discovers a side door that everyone else has missed. Unfortunately, when he opens it, a sorcerer and ghoul crash down to the ground next to it in the alley it leads to. Cursing, Reg pulls a grenade from his pocket, rips the pin out with his teeth, hurls it through the door, and slams the door shut. As he’s backing away, the blast throws him and the tome’s owner across the room, leaving a huge hole on in the wall to the alley where the door used to be. On the other side? Zombies, six of them, swaying back and forth to a repetitive thumping bass.

The zombies charge, and Reg fires his gun. He knows he doesn’t score a hit, but nonetheless, one zombie at the back of the group falls. There’s no time to contemplate this, as the rest keep coming, so Reg drags the tome’s owner back up the stairs. On the way up, he meets Benny and Rebekka coming down. The group manages to push a HUGE vase down the stairs, trapping the zombies against the bannister.

Before fleeing the scene, Reg pulls $500 from his wallet and stuffs it in the pocket of the now unconscious owner of the tome, and takes the book. As he does so, he feels a vicious slash at his heels. A giant panther has appeared from nowhere, and taken a swipe at his legs. Luckily, Reg is not hurt, and Benny’s quick thinking gives him time to throw a barrier in front of the doorway, allowing the heroes to escape the panther, skirt the zombies, and make a run for Reg’s car.

A hero’s job is a thankless one, and few jobs are as thankless as dealing with the White Council. The Council takes the tome, and offers what little healing and compensation the ancient members are willing to dish out.

But something’s still not right in Reg’s world. Somehow, he knows that something went tragically wrong that night. Late at night he lays in bed staring at the ceiling, wondering just what happened to that sorcerer.

The late nights turn into long days, but sleep deprivation turns to genius. It’s not long before Reg remembers that he saw a security camera at the end of the alley. It takes hours, but eventually he manages to tap into the footage.

Watch… re-watch… Zoom. Watch… re-watch… Zoom. Over and over, he studies the same footage. The sorcerer stands up, looks at his feet, and then everything flashes white and goes to static. But there’s something there. He just knows it. Hundreds of times he watches it.

Then Reg zooms in on the face. There it is, just before the explosion. The lips move. Reg slows it down. There it is:

“Your impulsiveness will be your doom!”

Oh God.

“Your impulsiveness will be your DOOM.”

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Yin-Yang

Dresden Files – Yin-Yang

Is Marius Raith the gentleman he appears to be? Or is he simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Our heroes are picked up at their homes and delivered to the club listed on their invitations. For a Saturday night, the club is surprisingly empty— deserted in fact. This is all explained when the white suited bouncer takes their weapons and locks them in a footlocker by the door, then escorts them inside.

It appears the club has been closed for the night. Apparently, this will be a private soiree.

The group ascends the marble stairway of the old house turned club, and finds an elaborate table set for their arrival. At the head of the table is Marius Raith, favored son of the White Court.

Raith is polite and talkative, but Rebekka and Reg are not. They are interested in nothing but getting down to business. Annoyed, but willing, Marius is willing to dispense with pleasantries. He tosses a manilla folder to the middle of the table. Reg picks it up, and inside he finds arrest warrants for himself, Rebekka, Benny, and Jacob.

“Distressing, no? But I can make all of this go away.” Marius tells them. But, unsurprisingly, such a favor would not come for free. It turns out that the Raith family already has payment in mind. It turns out that a scourge of Black Court vampires has come to town, and they need to be disposed of.

There is no question that such an action could be mutually beneficial, if the heroes could survive it. But what about future ventures? Marius offers removal of one warrant for each task the group completes. That means there will be three more things they have to do.

“In addition,” Benny mentions, “There’s the issue of my family, still locked up. What would we have to do to get them included in this deal, too?”

Raith excuses himself and makes a call. He returns saying, “Your family is free. Consider it an act of good faith.”

Good faith from a member of the White Court is hard to believe. Especially when the Court will keep everyone hanging until all favors are complete. The group can safely refuse any favor, but if they do, the contract is broken and all arrest warrants will be re-instated.

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Benny decides to accept. It doesn’t take long for the others to follow.

After a stunningly good dinner, the friends leave, discussing their plans, but as they step out on to the porch to retrieve their items from the footlocker, they find it gone, along with the bouncer. But their attention on this problem is short lived, as they are ambushed by gunmen.

The heroes manage to incapacitate or kill the gunmen, and chase off their vampire leader, but Rebekka is unable to follow him. They are left licking their wounds, with a promise (by phone) from Marius Raith that he will do everything in his power to recover their personal belongings.

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